By Griffin Finch
The top seed in the west being the heavy favorites in the series took out the Utah Jazz in a gentleman’s sweep. Harden and CP3 played well along with the rest of the Houston team. The Jazz also played very well and Donovan Mitchell showed why he is the best true rookie this year. This series was a simple case of the Rockets simply being better than the Utah Jazz.
Utah played the Rockets as well as they could have hoped to. They were able to steal game two on the road but were unable to win either game a Vivint Smart Home Arena. They nearly took game five as well. Donovan Mitchell was having his way in the third quarter scoring 20 in the period. Sadly, towards the end of the quarter he suffered an injury after bumping knees with Harden which kept him out of the rest of the game. Even without Mitchell the Jazz were still hitting shots and were in a position to win in the fourth. However, Chris Paul went on to finish a historic performance in which he completely took over in the final minutes. Paul simply could not miss. He was hitting contested threes while fading away. When a superstar is in that kind of zone, his team is winning the game. Utah did everything they could to extend the series, but Houston just had to much firepower.
The Rockets ability to hit shots from the outside is enough to overpower most teams. Especially a team like the Jazz who are very young and inexperienced. At any point during the game four out of five positions are filled with three point snipers and the fifth position is filled by bigs like Clint Capela who sprint up and down the floor and is always a threat to slam down a lob from Harden or Paul. The system they run is perfect for the players on that team. That is the reason they won the west and are favored in every potential match up except for the Warriors. Their stars thrive in the fast paced offense and Chris Paul is leading the defense to be a very respectable one. For these reasons, it is no surprise that Houston was able to defeat the Jazz the way they did.
Utah doesn’t currently have a lot of pieces that are definitely keepers for a future championship roster. The only things that should be off the table in a deal would be Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert. They need to acquire more all star level talent while remaining very young so that the team can grow with Mitchell. The Rockets will play Golden State in the Western Conference Finals. The Warriors are indeed the favorites, but Houston’s potent offense gives them at least a puncher’s chance. If the Rockets want to win, they will need to get away from their isolation heavy ways and focus on good ball movement. They will also need to lock in defensively because we can be sure that Golden State is going to give them everything they can handle and then some.